September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month. In the United States, about 1 in 6 children has obesity and 1 in 3 is overweight or obese. Obesity is a serious health condition that has no simple solution, but everyone can help work towards ending obesity.
Why is childhood obesity important?
The rate of childhood obesity is more than 4 times higher than it was four decades ago. People with obesity are at risk for type 2 diabetes, asthma, bone and joint problems, and sleep apnea. Also, children with obesity are more likely to have obesity as adults.
What influences childhood obesity?
There are many things that can contribute to childhood obesity. These can include eating and exercise, genetics, home environment, and community factors. For many children, these are large factors for obesity:
- too much time spent being inactive
- lack of sleep
- lack of places to go in the community to get physical activity
- easy access to inexpensive, high calorie foods and sugary beverages
- lack of access to affordable, healthier foods
How can I help childhood obesity?
There are many things that you can do to help a child have a healthy weight. These can include:
- Giving a child healthy, lower calorie foods like fruits and vegetables and avoiding sugary drinks.
- Joining a child in fun physical activity. This could be a walk around the neighborhood, a sports game in a park, or even fun dances inside of a house. The possibilities are endless!
- Talk with the child’s healthcare professional about their weight and strategies to keep a child healthy.